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HIPAA regulations allow for "reasonable charges" for medical records. You should not be required to pay unreasonably high costs for medical records when you request your medical records.

Peter J. Bartinik, Jr.
Civil Trial Attorney, Practicing Law in Connecticut

Blog Category:
8/20/2014
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Finally, I way to get medical records at a reasonable cost in Connecticut.

To review a medical malpractice case in Connectiuct, you need to review the records.  In fact, normally the first step we take when we review a potential medical malpractice case is to get the records.  This involves making a request for the records to the various doctors or hospitals. For example, this morning I wrote to Hartford Hospital for a set of records.  

The problem.

Unfortunately, many times doctors or hospitals charge a fee to provide your records.  Many times, it is a per page copying charge.  So, if you have many pages of records, the charges can get very high:  Sometimes too high. 

The new rule to solve the problem.

This can all change with the implementation of the "Privacy Rules" under the Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).  Under these rules charges must be "reasonable."  This means you can now request digital records on a disc in .pdf format, and you can only be charged the cost for the disc plus a reasonable charge to press the button to save the records to the disc.  

Where does this rule come from?

One of the purposes of HIPAA is to "combate waste, fraud, and abuse in health insurance and health care delivery."  In order to implement the Act, the United States Department of Health and Human Services was charged with creating regulations to fulfill the goals of the Act.  Part of these regulations include the Privacy Rule under HIPAA.  

Those rules include the regulations at 45 C.F.R. § 164.500 through § 164.534.  When you look at regulation 45 C.F.R. § 164.524 you will see the rule that allows for records at a reasonable cost. 

You can file a complaint with DHHS.

Unfortunately, even thought the rule has been in effect for several years, many doctors and hospitals are not yet on board, and still try to charge unreasonable fees to give you a copy of your own records.  When this happens you can file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services.  The complaint can be filed on-line.  The title to this blog is a link to the complaint form page.  Normally, this will do the trick. 

Where to find help to review your potential malpractice case.

If you or anyone you know believes you have a medical malpractice case to review, and you need to get the medical records don't hesitate to ask for our help.  We are lawyers who handle medical malpractice cases, and are familiar with the rules applicable to getting medical records. We are here to help when you need us.  Call The Bartinik Law Firm, P.C., 100 Fort Hill Road, Groton, Connecticut at 860-445-8521 or toll free at 888-717-4211.



Category: Medical Malpractice

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